There are certain stories which take place every year in the National Football League which are pretty special. When you see stories like that of Mike Hilton, a player who was cut from multiple teams before finding a home with the Pittsburgh Steelers, it really makes you appreciate the long and winding journey experienced by some players.
A similar story could be told of wide receiver/return specialist Ray-Ray McCloud. McCloud had spent the majority of his professional career with the Buffalo Bills, then after being released prior to the 2020 season the Steelers came calling.
McCloud made the team, and forced his competition, Ryan Switzer, out of town. As a Restricted Free Agent (RFA), McCloud has signed a one year deal with the Steelers to remain in Pittsburgh for at least another year.
This per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network:
The #Steelers have agreed to terms with WR/return man Ray-Ray McCloud on a one-year deal, source said. McCloud played in every game last season, starting two, and now stays in Pittsburgh.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 10, 2021
McCloud had career-best return averages with both punt and kick returns with the Steelers in 2020. With 298 return yards on 29 punt returns, McCloud averaged 10.3 yards per return with a long of 57 yards. As for kickoff returns, McCloud had 646 yards on 28 returns for an average of 21.3 yards and a long of 49 yards.
McCloud wasn’t just used as a return man, but also an option within Randy Fichtner’s offense. Throughout 2020, McCloud had 20 receptions on 22 targets for 77 yards. McCloud also added four rushes for 65 yards with 58 of those yards coming on one play.
Could the Steelers have bigger plans for McCloud in Matt Canada’s offense? That has yet to be seen, but there is no doubt McCloud is a piece of the Steelers’ offensive puzzle heading into 2021.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the new league year, NFL Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.